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Our Digital Literacy Graduates

Our Digital Literacy Graduates

We are so proud of the first eight educators to complete the URI Graduate Certificate in Digital Literacy! 
KINGSTON, R.I., Oct. 2, 2015 – Eight educators have received their graduate certificates in digital literary in a program at the University of Rhode Island that is a collaboration of the URI School of Education and the Media Education Lab at URI's Harrington School of Communication and Media.

"The graduates are well-prepared for leadership in advancing digital literacy across a variety of settings, including elementary and secondary education, higher education, libraries and more," said Renee Hobbs, professor and director of the Media Education Lab and co-director of the program.

The graduates participated in a 12-credit program that included classes such as Teaching and Learning with Digital Technologies; Seminar in Digital Literacy and Learning; Seminar in Digital Authorship; and Leading with Digital Literacy. 

Here’s a list of the graduates:

Jillian Belanger, coordinator of English Language Learner Education at the Rhode Island Department of Education and a doctoral candidate at URI. “I loved the format of the program: two intensive, collaborative, connected weeklong summer courses and two online courses with engaging, challenging and fun assignments. I did it while working toward my doctorate in rhetoric and composition and it made my graduate experience richer and more complete.”

Kara Clayton, media literacy educator at Thurston High School in Redford, Mich. “The program refocused my teaching and provided me with ways to engage and excite my students in learning. During the two summer courses, I had the privilege of collaborating with other professionals in education, while the two online courses were the catalyst to begin my master’s degree in adult education at URI.”

Mark Davis, a reading specialist at Barrington High School. “The program was one of the most collaborative and enjoyable experiences I’ve had in professional development. We created genuine partnerships across a global cohort. Most of all, we created illuminating products that motivated learners and captured our attention. I’m honored to be a member of this elite group, and I’m excited to integrate what I learned into my digital literacy curriculum.”

Caighla Healy, a graduate student in the master’s in reading program at URI. “The certificate program has given me confidence in my teaching and learning. I met so many wonderful people who helped expand my creativity and thinking about digital literacy.”

Amanda Murphy, a social studies teacher at Westerly High School. “As a social studies teacher, the certificate in digital literacy gave me new knowledge and practical applications to help students make real world connections to our past and become change-makers for our future.”

Susan P. Unger, a K-8 science and health educator and a robotics coach at St. Peter School in Warwick. “As a science educator, I learned skills to support students' perceptions of the relevance of science class to their daily lives, which is invaluable for a democratic society.” 

Stephanie Viens, an 8th grade teacher at Morton Middle School in Fall River, Mass. “Through this program, I turned my beliefs about the needs of today's students into practical plans of action. The expertise I gained in new literacies has propelled my career as a teacher and is enabling me to be a leading asset in digital literacy at my school.”

Alex Xenophontos, a graduate student in the master’s in reading program at URI. “As a newbie teacher, this program has allowed me to gain expertise in a much needed area of education, broadening both my understanding of digital literacy and its tools.’’

“In three years, the Graduate Certificate in Digital Literacy has grown into something more than I ever imagined,” said Julie Coiro, associate professor of URI’s School of Education and co-director of the certificate program. “It’s been an awesome experience to collaborate with Renee Hobbs and other faculty members to talk and think about digital literacy in ways that are meaningful.’’

For more information on the program, please contact Julie Coiro at or Renee Hobbs at

Pictured above: Graduates of URI’s Graduate Certificate in Digital Literacy. Photo courtesy of URI.